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Iowa congressman speaks out on 'The Story' about tougher penalties for illegal immigrants who re-enter the U.S. after being deported.
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MELISSA FRANCIS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Absolutely. Thanks, Bret. We pick up the story from here. And we begin with breaking news on the Kate Steinle murder. The Department of Justice now saying it will deport Jose Zarate after a California jury failed to convict on the charges. Good evening, I'm Melissa Francis in tonight for Martha MacCallum. You saw the verdict live here on "The Story" last night. Zarate, a seven-time felon, and illegal immigrant, deported five times, acquitted in the murder of 32-year- old Kate Steinle. The San Francisco jury finding him only guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The decision sending shock waves across the country as Zarate could technically be released from prison soon. The news prompting the Trump administration to make sure justice is served.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIEF FEMALE: We're looking at pursuing federal charges in this case. And I think it's important to reassure everyone who is concerned about this that we will prosecute this to the fullest extent available on the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: And that's what they did just hours ago. Trace Gallagher is live on our west coast newsroom with a breaking story. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Melissa, when he was sentenced on December 14th, the man who fired the shot that killed Kate Steinle, Jose Garcia Zarate, could get a 16-months to three years in prison for possession of a firearm. But California has a jail credit system where each day behind bars counts as two days. So, Garcia Zarate already has been in jail for 29 months, meaning he has five years of credit which is more than enough to cover the crime. But the Department of Justice has unsealed an arrest warrant for Garcia Zarate for violating his probation for a drug conviction in Texas in 2015. The warrant means that despite San Francisco's sanctuary city policy, the sheriff there is obligated to turn him over to the federal government.
The question, then, becomes what does the federal government do with Garcia Zarate? We know the Department of Justice has amended the warrant to include felony weapon possession, which carries up to 10 years in prison. And the DOJ is also considering felony re-entry charges. But because he's been deported five times and there is no Kate's Law yet passing in the Senate, there are no mandatory minimum sentencing for illegal re-entry. But at the very least, the Department of Justice will have time to decide how to prosecute him. Here's what the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Neil Cavuto just a short time ago. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HOMAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: We want him prosecuted further. So, he will be deported to Mexico when we're done prosecuting him, but we want to hold him accountable for his crimes first. So, then, he'll spend some time in prison, then when he leaves there, we will deport him to Mexico. There's no doubt about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: And there is clearly immense pressure for the DOJ to go after Garcia Zarate. After his acquittal on murder charges, President Trump tweeted: "The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly- protected Obama boarder, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration as a complete travesty of justice. Build the wall!" Of course, Kate Steinle's death was one of the issues that propelled the campaign of the then-Candidate Donald Trump and it is reinvigorating those pushing for a wall and for those looking to pass Kate's Law. Melissa.
FRANCIS: I mean, all those details, just staggering. Trace Gallagher, thank you. Here now with more is Iowa Congressman Steve King, who was one of the first lawmakers to push for Kate's Law -- legislation to toughen penalties for illegal immigrants who re-enter the country after being deported. I mean, there is so much outrage over this case, but listening to that guest talking to Neil Cavuto, the official who said, "make no mistake, we will deport him," that doesn't offer any solace to any Americans because he's been deported before all this happened.
REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA: Well, looks like it will be his sixth deportation, and if we deported Zarate to Mexico, he's likely to get back into America before we can build a wall to keep him out. And I think he's going to prison for a little while, I hope that's the case when this warrant is served and they bring charges against him that emanate out of Texas. But this is a sickening thing to see that there he was on the block for justice and a jury in California decided they would pull and O.J. Simpson jury, and simply give him amnesty for the killing of Kate Steinle. And I say, he killed Kate Steinle -- and sure a person is innocent until proven guilty, there isn't a person in America who thinks that Zarate didn't kill her. So, if they don't want to find guilty of first or second- degree murder, or negligent homicide, and they found them guilty of a gun charge. Their anti-gun, but not anti-murder in San Francisco is what it looks to me credit.
FRANCIS: Is it fair to characterize the jury that way? I mean, some say the prosecutors didn't do a good job, be the charges brought against them were wrong, it could be the way they built their case. I mean, are you sure it's the jury nullification?
KING: Well, I would say this that if you're going down to the streets of San Francisco and round up 12 peers of Zarate, you're going to end up with 11 leftists. And I think there's another factor here and I'm speculating, I admit, but there's a resentment factor that exists in San Francisco and all of California. They say we are the sanctuary cities, we are the sanctuary state; Gary Brownstein sanctuary legislation. They're anti- trump. And this is a way -- this is a spiteful thing. It had to be a component of this because it could not have made a conclusion based upon a reasonable doubt. There's no reasonable doubt Zarate killed Kate Steinle. It is a tragedy of justice.
FRANCIS: No one even disputes. No one disputes the fact that he killed her. I want to ask you, I was drilling down on some of the legislation that you're putting forth to try and solve this. And I looked at one of the details because I think a lot of the economic factors, this incentivizes employers, to hire illegal immigrants for jobs that maybe Americans don't want to do. But if you've been a lot around employment that would solve some of the problem at least, you talked about that you want to make the wages and benefits paid to illegal immigrants nondeductible for federal tax purposes. I mean, I almost threw up when I read that. I didn't realize you could deduct on your federal taxes, wages that you paid to someone who was here illegally. You're not supposed to hire and pay someone who is here illegally. How can you right now deduct that on your taxes?
KING: Melissa, I am so grateful that you brought this up. It is a bill that I've had here for about six or eight, or ten years in this Congress. But the practice is that the IRS allows deductions, they won't check to see if you're hiring illegals. The Social Security Administration was stopped under Obama sending out no match letters, so hundreds of people can use the same Social Security Number and befalls illegal employees operating under that identification. And the Department of Homeland Security is not cooperating or communicating with the IRS or the Social Security Administration.
This bill that I introduced, and I offered this as an amendment to H.R-1, this tax bill, that's being debated right over my shoulder right now as I stand here in this Capitol building is $254,000,000,000 pay for that says you can't deduct your wages paid to illegals, but if you're an employer and you use verify, then you get safe harbor. Nothing could be more fair, more open, more honest. And by the way, who do they respect more about enforcing the law than the IRS? Everybody respects the IRS here better than --
FRANCIS: No, it makes all kinds of economic sense. I don't see the cost to it. And when you raised it as the tax issue, it seems like we're talking about taxes right now kind of been slapped on there, very interesting. Anyway, we're out of time, sir. Love to talk to you again soon. Thank you.
KING: Thanks, Melissa.
FRANCIS: So, just a short time ago, the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement said sanctuary cities are why Kate Steinle is dead. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOMAN: Sanctuary city policy had everything to do with this. They knowingly released a public safety threat that he was here in the country illegally back into the community, rather than turning over him over to ICE so we can deport him. Sanctuary cities' policy is the reason this young lady is not with us today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Here now is David Wohl, he's an Attorney and Conservative Commentator; and Ruben Navarrette, he is a Syndicated Columnist and Host of the daily podcast "Navarrette Nation". Thanks to both of you for joining us.
RUBEN NAVARRETTE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST AND PODCAST HOST: Hey, Melissa.
FRANCIS: Ruben, let me start with you. They're talking about, when he's done with his time serve for this gun charge, which is going to be very soon, that he's going to be turned over to the DOJ, others are vowing to deport him. I'm worried that maybe none of that happens. I mean, he's been released before when others were looking to pick him up. What do think are the odds of that?
NAVARRETTE: I think the odds, Melissa, are much better now that the federal government will take custody of him, because now they really want him. Before they didn't want him; he was a low-level criminal who had merely drug and alcohol offenses on his record. They didn't issue a warrant when it all went bad, they came back and pointed a finger at the San Francisco authorities because that's what law enforcement does -- they blame each other.
But this time, they will not let that happen. The first time, make no mistake, it was a mistake by the federal government and by ICE because they didn't issue a warrant. This time they will issue a warrant, they will grab him and they will try him on weapons violations or on the illegal entry. There's enough to try him. And you have the right point initially, we should not be deporting him. If you deport him, he'll come back. He belongs in federal prison.
FRANCIS: Yes. David, I mean, this case and this criminal is really the poster child for the problems that we are having in this country with illegal immigration. And this woman, many argue, would not be dead right now were it not for sanctuary cities. What do you say about that?
DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY AND CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, that's absolutely true. And that's why San Francisco and the other sanctuary cities have to be defunded. There's no question about that. And we all know that the local authorities in San Francisco, by the way, they had a detainer. They could have held Garcia Zarate for the federal authorities to pick him up before they released him last time. They just chose not to. They have a disdain for immigration law, they have disdain for law and order.
And guess what? If the federal authorities come to pick him up, because he's going to be released when he's sentenced because of his credit for time served. If they decide to start the law again and release him, then the federal authorities will be detained, will be arrested, and will be prosecuted for obstruction of justice and America will applaud. So, we look out for that. Mr. Trump's passionate about this. He's been since I -- when I first met him, this was his number one priority. And now, this case, this acquittal just bolsters the wall, bolsters the sanctuary cities-- defunding -- and they're both going to happen.
FRANCIS: So, this brings up and interesting question of if Mr. Zarate is going to pay for this crime, who is going to? And Ruben, I would ask you. I mean, doesn't it seem like Kate Steinle's family could sue the city of San Francisco? They didn't follow federal law or -- I mean, could they sue whoever dropped the ball here? It would be civil charges at least based on what happened -- go ahead.
NAVARRETTE: Well, I'd like to see that happen as well. I think that would be a nice remedy as well. But here's -- there's a number of people who are responsible here. The prosecutor's overreached, they overcharged. This was never a first-degree murder, it was never murder one, it wasn't premeditated. The shooter was 73 feet away from the victim, it ricocheted off a peer -- the bullet ricocheted off a pier. It was a complete accident. So, they were never going to get murder one. I would've liked for them to just go on straight up involuntary manslaughter. Don't muddy the waters with choices; make it simple for the jury.
FRANCIS: Real quick, last word.
WOHL: Absolutely --
NAVARRETTE: Secondly, President Trump, obviously. President Trump's also culpable because he colluded everything with politics.
FRANCIS: David, real quick, last word.
WOHL: They absolutely had enough for involuntary manslaughter. The evidence was there, the jury acquitted it, it was nullification at its worst. And the feds are going to take over, and he may look at up to 20 years in prison on the federal case.
FRANCIS: We'll see. Gentleman, thank you. Breaking tonight, alive look at the Senate floor where a vote is expected any time on a much-anticipated tax reform plan. We are going to tell you what is in it for you in case you were wondering -- that's next. And Michael Flynn flips: President Trump's former national security advisor pleading guilty today to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. So, what does this mean for President Trump? Constitutional Law Attorney Jonathan Turley here on that. Plus, no one is immune to the opioid crisis in America. A high-ranking military father sharing his emotional story of loss as a warning to other parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the Jekyll and Hyde nature of addiction that that molecule would bury itself so deeply in his brain, that it came back and got him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Breaking tonight, you're looking live at the Senate floor where we are awaiting a vote on what is being billed as a once in a generation tax reform bill. Last-minute negotiations on the final details are holding this that much longer than expected tonight. But Senate leadership says they have the votes to pass the bill and it's not a question of if, but when. Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry is live in Washington tonight with the late-breaking details. Ed.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, great to see you. As we first predicted on THE STORY this week, John McCain got behind this tax cut and so did a lot of other wavering Republicans to put President Trump on the verge of a dramatic victory that "big, beautiful tax cut" that he's been promising for so long. Breaking late today, though, as you mentioned, some hiccups, Republicans Bob Corker, who like McCain, has been basically feuding with the president and now he's going the other way. He's going to vote "no" on the tax cut because of concerns about how much it costs. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER, R-ARIZONA: It just came down to, sort of, the 20 fiscal issues and my concern about the, you know, long-term debt. But again, many, many aspects of this bill are very, very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: But in the end, Corker's opposition, not likely to matter because other Republicans on the fence like Susan Collins came on board giving Mitch McConnell a much-needed win after that colossal failure on repealing and replacing Obamacare. The president has already been touting the stock market that has been on fire, until today's news about the guilty plea for Michael Flynn. The Dow, yesterday, seeing its 63rd record close this year, and it could be roaring again soon after some of these changes kick in. The corporate tax rate will be dropping from 35 percent to about 20 percent depending on the final details.
We'll expand write-offs allowed for companies that are buying new equipment. And on the personal side, despite Democratic claims that this helps very few people, the joint committee on taxation says 60 percent, 60 percent of U.S. Households will get a tax cut; eight percent will pay him more money. And despite all the charges that this will only help the rich, that same committee found that for families making between $50,000-$75,000 per year, 80 percent of them get a tax cut of a $100 or more. Here's the fight we saw earlier on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think would be fair to say that every few hours, this bill just seems to get worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe we will have a final product that moves us fundamentally in a different direction when it comes to our tax policy and the direction that is good for jobs, that good for growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, they are hoping to have the final vote on this tax package in the next two or three hours or so, Melissa. But they've made so many changes to get some of these wavering Republicans on board; they're still going through the final text. So, some people are saying, it might slide even until Saturday. But bottom line is, this is headed for a big victory for the president, then it will have to go to a conference committee with the House and Senate work out their differences. But this is finally on the verge of their first big legislative win for the president this year.
FRANCIS: Good. I'm glad they're staying through the night. I like to see them staying late and working on a Friday night. They're our employees after all, Ed Henry, right? Thank you.
HENRY: They're on the payroll. That's right.
FRANCIS: There you go. So, what exactly is in this bill and what does it mean for you and your wallet? Here now is Mark Short, he's the White House Director of Legislative Affairs. Sir, thank you so much for joining us tonight. One of the criticisms of this, as I have heard people say, that this is just a tax cut for corporations. That it's even a redistribution of wealth from individuals to companies, how do you respond to that?
MARK SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Well, let's say it does provide significant tax relief because what's happened across the globe is that other countries have lower their tax rate, which is why so many countries have relocated overseas and we've lost thousands and thousands of jobs. The reason we're lowering the rate to 20 percent is that puts us right about the average of an industrialized nations. In fact, Great Britain is going below that to 17 percent, Ireland's already at 12 percent, the countries that president recently visited in Asia are below 20 percent as well. So, by lowering that 20 percent, the Council of Economic Advisors study suggests that the average working families will see a $4,000 increase in their wages.
FRANCIS: OK. But you've got to get people in audience to those working families. Because the answer you just gave, people out there are like, I don't care about companies, I don't care if they a tax break or not. I care about my family, my wallet, you know, I care about putting my kids through college, paying my mortgage. So, why they're giving corporations a tax break helps our audience?
SHORT: Well, Melissa, two things: one, the corporate rate deduction helps to increase growth, helps increase employment and helps to increase wages. But the individual side is where individual families will see significant tax relief as well. It is targeted towards the middle-income families, and so they will reduce the rates they're paying, they'll also credits for each of the children and their family. But, one that's important thing here is the individual mandate is something that 80 percent of people pay in that tax earning $50,000 or below. So, by eliminating that tax, we're benefiting those working-class families the most.
FRANCIS: Mark, let me give you a hand here, and not because I want to help you out, but because I studied economics -- and I'm not bragging about that, I just want to give you a basis for why I can help you here. There is nobody that corporations don't touch. If you cut corporate taxes for our viewers at home, that raises wages, it lowers prices on the stock they're going to go out and buy, it provides more jobs. All those things go to families all over the place. There's nobody that companies don't touch. What do think of that assessment?
SHORT: Well, Melissa, I think that I just mentioned it would increase wages by up to $4,000 for working families. So, I'm 100 percent agreement with you. You're welcome to be spokesman for planning any time you want.
FRANCIS: I know. I don't want to be your spokesman, I just -- I want to break it down in really plain language so that people at home understand why this is good for them.
SHORT: So here are two things --
SHORT: -- specific numbers, $4,000 of wage increase per working family. The Senate bill itself for an average family earning $72,000 provides $2,000 in income relief on their individual side. $4,000 of wage increase; $2,000 individual income for a family. So, it's a (INAUDIBLE) that we can tax relief for working families.
FRANCIS: You talk about doubling that immediate initial deduction when people get out there, you know before they start paying any taxes at all, and Democrats on the other side really play that down. How do you drive that home to more people out there in the audience?
SHORT: So, what you're saying is that for an average married couple filing jointly, the first $24,000 of income is tax-free. There are no taxes on that first $24,000. It's actually an idea that many Democrats supported when they suggested tax relief before. But obviously, in the very partisan environment, we're in now, you hear them actually criticizing that idea now. But that's what it does, your first $24,000 is accumulating without tax.
FRANCIS: Yes. This idea, you know, it drives me nuts when I hear people in Washington say we're going to pay for these tax breaks by shifting the tax burden to someone else.
FRANCIS: I would like to pay for me keeping more of my own money by people in Washington spending less? How do we do that?
SHORT: Melissa, it's exactly the right point. It's the people's money, it's not the government's money. When the Reagan tax cuts went into effect, we had over $100 billion in additional revenue following that. And the John F. Kennedy tax cuts, over a $100 billion additional revenue. It actually increased revenue. The problem with it, Congress continue to spend more. We do not have a tax problem, we have a spending problem.
SHORT: We do not tax too little, we simply spend too much. And so, the way to address our deficit is actually to being cutting back on our spending habits.
FRANCIS: Yes. What do you think it is the likelihood that that might happen? If we do go and we cut taxes and, we do see the growth in the economy that a lot of economists believe will happen, because you leave more money with corporations, they go out, they spend it, they invest, the economy grows. What are the chances that the government says, OK, now we're going to cut back on some of our spendings?
SHORT: Similar to the 10-year budget that the administration put forward to Congress actually balanced. So, these cuts significantly do a lot for discretionary programs. I think, unfortunately, Congress is usually putting those dollars back in. We'll see it then this year when we get to our end of the year spending bill, what it looks like for 2018 and 2019. We're hopeful that Congress will begin pulling back on a lot of the programs that we have. But to your earlier point, the tax cuts generally grow, and we need that growth to actually pay for our national security needs. During the Obama administration, we grew at a 1.8 percent average. If we did that, there's no way we can afford our needs to protect our country.
FRANCIS: Yes. People out there in the audience probably don't remember that growth that was more four, five, six percent -- that's what we need to see out there. Thank you so much for coming on, and good luck to you. Tell everybody there in Washington to focus on spending less.
SHORT: Thank you.
FRANCIS: I'm sure they'll do that. Breaking tonight, a scary sign of the times as Hawaii tests its nuclear siren for the first time since the Cold War. Plus, Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn making a surprise deal with the FBI and agreeing to cooperate in the Russia investigation. Constitutional Law Attorney, Jonathan Turley, is here next on what this means for the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING, R-NEW YORK: I don't see this going any further, I see no evidence in the connection between General Flynn and the president being involved in Russia collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Breaking tonight, full cooperation, that is what President Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn is now promising Robert Mueller and the special counsel Russia investigation. This comes after Flynn pled guilty earlier today to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. Chief Washington correspondent James Rosen is live at the White House tonight with reaction. James?
JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, good evening. Clearly officials here at the White House tonight are bracing for General Flynn, now actively cooperating with the special counsel's investigation, to say all manner of things. And with that in mind, the lawyer for the president has already begun painting Flynn as an unreliable witness, noting that he only served 24 days as White House national security advisor and describing him as an Obama administration official. The false statement involve said presidential attorney Ty Cobb, in a statement mirror the false statement to White House officials that resulted in Flynn's resignation in February this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. And Cobb added the conclusion of this phase of the special council work demonstrate again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears away from prompt and reasonable conclusion.
Flynn now admits he falsely told FBI agents in January that in his phone calls with the Russian ambassador the months before during the transition period, he never asked Sergey Kislyak to refrain from escalation in a diplomatic skirmish with the U.S. at that time. Flynn also falsely claim not to remember a subsequent call in which Kislyak apprised him with the Russian federation had indeed refrained from exhalation as Flynn had requested. Flynn also admitted having falsely told agency never asked the Russian ambassador on a separate occasion to vote against the pending U.N. Security Council resolution targeting Israeli settlements. And Flynn falsely told agents that he never receive from Kislyak any indication of Russia response to that request.
Finally, the special counsel got Mueller -- Flynn, excuse me, to admit that he made, quote, materially false statements and omission on federal disclosure forms about his work as a lobbyist on behalf of Turkish interests. And all those admission could work against the special prosecutors if they seek to use Flynn on the witness stand against more senior figures including the president, because, Melissa, as Ty Cobb's statement shows any savvy defense counsel will surely seek to impugn the credibility of Mike Flynn on the witness stand by pointing out that he's already admitted having lied repeatedly to federal agents on federal forms, why should any set of jurors ever believe him when he's sitting on the witness stand? Melissa.
FRANCIS: Well, there's the question for you. James, thank you for that report. Here now is Jonathan Turley, he is constitutional law attorney and professor at George Washington University. Thanks for joining us, sir. So he pled guilty to lying to the FBI, and he was lying about whether or not he had reached out to the Russians before President Trump took office and the conversation there, but even if he did do that, it's not illegal. So the question everybody is left with is why would he lie?
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Well, first of all, there is nothing in this indictment that move the ball significantly in terms of any crime associated with collusion and the Trump White House. What this does is it admits a crime committed by General Flynn in making false statement to investigators. That is very much predictable development and Washington people tend to go to jail not for the underlying scandal, but how they respond to it.
TURLEY: This is the classic charge you see in scandals of this kind. It's not clear that any of this really is existential threat to the Trump White House or people within that.
FRANCIS: We'll get to that in one second. You say he fell into the classic trap which is lying to federal authorities of any type, in this case the FBI about what went on. The question we're all left with is it doesn't make sense why he'd lie to them because what he went back and then was forced to say was true wasn't a crime. I mean, it may violet the -- act, but that's a zillion years old and everyone said that no one ever prosecutes based on that, so it doesn't make any sense. Help it make sense for us.
TURLEY: Well, I mean, it's always a mystery to me when you have powerful figures who makes misinterpretation within the FBI. They're fully aware of these laws. Sometimes it's because there's cities fill with a personality type that feel they can talk their way around problems. Sometimes it's just a lack of memory. If there is an indication that Comey's people did not believe that he was intentionally evasive when he gave this information that would obviously change with Mueller's people. But what's interesting about this deal is it's a pretty good deal.
TURLEY: Flynn was always on the top of most of our list as the likely person to be indicted.
FRANCIS: OK. So the implication of that, that is a pretty good deal, is that he's giving them something in return. And it was said that he was directed to reach out by a senior official in the Trump transition team. There were reports earlier from ABC that they sort of walked back after the report tank the market, and the market came back as well, that he was willing to testify against the president. What's the likelihood of that?
TURLEY: Well, there's no indication that the president is the person being referenced here. There is a reference to helping in the prosecution of another person. That could be any number of people. So I don't think you can really speculate on this. It's clear that this is someone who is very high-ranking, had a lot of contact with a lot of people. But there is nothing here that indicates a conspiracy thus far. The most damaging type of information from Flynn would be that he misrepresented at the behest of someone. But I also would have to disagree about one thing. I think that Flynn would be an effective witness. I don't believe that he is such damaged goods.
FRANCIS: Use your imagination because we can't figure it out at this point, against whom for what?
TURLEY: Yeah. I mean, there's a couple of different possibilities. I mean, when you have someone like Flynn who serve a matinee target, you know, this is the guy you usually give deals to incriminate, not deals to benefit. You only do that if the charges would be difficult to prove against him, that's not the case here, or he brings deliverables. The question is deliverables against who? People suggested it might be Kushner, it might be Manafort, or could be someone else, but we really don't know.
FRANCIS: Jonathan Turley, thank you.
TURLEY: Thank you.
FRANCIS: Coming up, he served at one the highest levels in our military, but tonight, a retired admiral is talking frankly about the battle he couldn't win at home, the loss of his son to the opioid crisis. His powerful message to other parents ahead. And breaking new details tonight in the Matt Lauer sexual-harassment scandal, one of the reporter who first broke the story is here on that. Plus, we're going to take a larger look at how this story and others are changing the culture for women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since the story was posted, we have had many more people reach out to us and encourage us to continue to look into not just Matt Lauer, but NBC as a whole and, of course, we are going to be doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Breaking tonight for the first time since the cold war, this happened in Hawaii today.
FRANCIS: Wow. That is the sign of its nuclear warning siren. The cast comes days after North Korea fired a intercontinental ballistic missile with the range of hitting anywhere in the United States. Hawaiian official say today's test was done to make sure the public know what they should do in case of an imminent attack. If a missile is launched, residents and tourists would have less than 20 minutes to take shelter. Also developing tonight, more women come forward accusing the former NBC today show cohost Matt Lauer of sexual harassment and more. We are learning the highest-paid anchor and news may not be seeing any more of that money. There's been speculation Lauer would receive a payout in the millions after all this, but new reports suggest he will not be paid, quote, past his last day of work. Meanwhile, NBC executives are facing mounting criticism about what they knew and when. As Variety reports, quote, several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer's behavior which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding today. Here now is the woman who wrote that expose, Variety reporter, Elizabeth Wagmeister. Now we were on Tucker Carlson Show last night, and you said you were getting more calls, and as you go out there and you're on the show and you advance the story, I imagine even more people who knew things and where victims have reached out to you, is that true?
ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, VARIETY REPORTER: That's absolutely right. I was scrabbling to get here on time because I've been on the phone all day long. So we have been getting -- when he was on Tucker with us last night, we cover the story, we've been reporting this for two months, and we feel really grateful that people are trusting us to reach out. They want those stories to be told. It feels like we're in a moment now where voices are finally being heard and listened too. So we've had a lot of women who either claimed that they have been harassed coming to us, but also just people who have information telling us I need to be off the record, but I want to share this with you. My inbox has been very full and my phone has been buzzing.
FRANCIS: And it's not just about Matt Lauer, I mean, they've been coming out to you about. And that was my point on the show last night is when I said before this was going on, it's not an NBC problem, it's not a Fox problem, it's going on at every network. It's going on -- we're seeing it in politics, but the people I was specifically talking about when I predicted the state was coming months ago are still out there and they're working at NBC and other networks. Did you hear about other people beyond Matt Lauer?
WAGMEISTER: We have and I'm not going to name specific names, but you are right. This is a widespread problem. It's not just NBC, but when it comes to NBC, there's a lot of discussion about who knew what, how long they knew it for, and why they would be protecting Matt Lauer. Now the obvious answer is he made a ton of money for the network. He's been there -- was there, rather, for over 20 years. And The Today Show this past year brought in $500 million in advertising revenue. The show is a big moneymaker, but there are other questions too. We've had many women and many sources and our reporting tell us that they did raise their concerns about Matt Lauer's conduct with people in management position. Now of course NBC's statement said they were only aware of one claim, but I think they're referring to an official H.R. complaint and they're being a paper trail. People told us they did raise their concerns, they spoke to managers, and nothing was done.
FRANCIS: So that's a really important part of this story for our audience to understand and it's a huge change that is happened. In the past when you heard about something when something we would go and either talk to a manager, but your only choice was talking to a manager, talking to H.R., or hiring an attorney. And all these things are really daunting because it could go on deaf ears, there could be retribution, or hiring an attorney could be really expensive and you still be retribution. Something has change where now all of a sudden because of the moment we're in, if somebody out there has a problem or knows of anything even if it didn't happen to them, they can talk to a reporter and you can investigate it.
FRANCIS: So my question is, what has changed? Because in the past, if I had called another reporter about something that was going on in a network, that reporter would have been afraid to go with the story, similar to what we heard about happening with Ronan Farrow and the Weinstein story. The reporter -- they would -- gosh, I need so much evidence, I need proof, I need this, but now there's more belief. It seems like you guys are able to go -- what's the difference? What has happened?
WAGMEISTER: You know, I think the difference is the moment that we are living in, and I don't mean this whole spiraling out of sexual harassment in Hollywood. What I mean is the era of social media has really changed. I actually interviewed Laura -- who actually works for the Fox affiliate in L.A., and she was one of the women who came forward with Harvey Weinstein. And she told me with social media, you can't hide anything anymore because you can put your story out there, and it's there and it's documented. So I think that's one big change. And also, in Ronan Farrow's piece for the New Yorker, he did write that one of the women, and I forget her name, but one of the women, she went to the police, they wired her, she went to the hotel, and nothing happened. So these women they feel like they're going to speak up and is going to happens.
FRANCIS: And now there's social media and reporters and all these sort of things. Keep up the good work, keep us posted. You know, this is a way for people to get their stories out there. Thank you so much. Up next, he had his whole life in front of him, the son of one of our nation's decorated military heroes, the victim of the opioid crisis. Retired admiral Sandy Winnefeld with his story next.
FRANCIS: President Trump has made the nation's opioid crisis a top priority for his administration. Every nine minutes an American dies for a drug overdose. It is now the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50, tragic statistics our next guest knowns all too well. This past September, his 19-year-old son moved into his college dorm only to be found unresponsive three days later, the victim of an overdose of a fentanyl- laced batch of heroin. Earlier, Martha spoke with retired-four star army -- navy admiral, James Sandy Winnefeld, who previously served as vice chairman of the joint chief of staff, with a distinguish career that included helping lead combat operations immediately after 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Admiral, thank you very much for speaking out about this and about your family's experience and for your service, of course, to the country as well. You write movingly about this in a piece that you just put out and you talk about the last days of his life and how excited you and your wife were that he was doing so much better when you dropped him off at college, sir.
JAMES WINNEFELD, RETIRED ADMIRAL: Absolutely. Jonathan had been through 15 months of intensive inpatient recovery. He was coming back as our son. It was remarkable to see his progress. He had gotten his emergency medical technician qualification. He wanted to help other people and he was really excited about starting school because he ultimately wanted to be a paramedic fireman. It's the Jekyll and Hyde nature of addiction that that molecule had buried itself so deeply in his brain that it came back and got him.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it's so heart wrenching. And why did he relapse after he had made so much progress?
WINNEFELD: Well, it's a very insidious thing, addiction, particularly opioid addiction where that molecule buries its way into your brain and it never really leaves. The transition process from treatment into -- back into society, back into a normal life, is a very fragile process. He did not make it through that. As it turns out, as part of his EMT qualifications, the state of Denver ask that he gets an EKG qualification, and it turns out that where he was taking that night course was right near and open air heroin market, and it doesn't take much offering heroin to someone walking on the streets for relapse to occur and we're pretty sure think that's exactly what happened with Jonathan.
MACCALLUM: Unbelievable. Now you feel that ending that kind of situation, what do you think is the most powerful thing that can happen when you hear about the White House's efforts, do you feel like enough is being done and what specifically do you want them to do to prevent what happened to your son?
WINNEFELD: Well, first of all, this really is a national security emergency, not a public health emergency. When you consider over 64,000 people killed in the last year, and the White House figure is $504 billion of economic impact on this country each year, that sound like a national emergency to me. And to me -- I can't obviously spend all the time going into great detail, but there are five interrelated things that have to be done. We've got to raise the level of public awareness, particularly, lowering the stigma associated with addiction. We need to amped up and more creatively our prevention efforts in schools, in the workplace, and across society. We need to take the prescription process and get that under more control. We need to get the heroin itself under control by supporting law enforcement and other entities. And finally, we definitely need to increase the capacity, the quality, and the affordability of treatment that is so important.
MACCALLUM: You said it so well. Admiral, thank you very much for being here. And as you say and your wife says and you two have been so strong through this and I know that speaking out as part of what you want to do to try to fix this problem, but if it can happen in your beautiful, loving family to your wonderful son, it can truly happen to anyone.
WINNEFELD: Well, Martha, the only way forward is to try to help other people, and that's why we started our project, it's called faith, faithproject.us, and we're really anxious to get going and to try to help other people across this country avoid the same thing that happened to our family.
MACCALLUM: Admiral, thank you very much for doing that with us tonight on The Story. Good to meet you, sir.
WINNEFELD: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: All the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Well, that is "The Story" tonight on this Friday, have a good weekend everybody. Tucker is up next.
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